Voice Festival UK 2012 Preview – Part 3: London

A couple of days before Christmas, we here at the UK University A Cappella Blog received possibly the best Christmas present of them all – confirmed dates and competitors for this year’s Voice Festival UK. While it is the largest competition so far, with more groups than ever competing, one Regional Round has unfortunately been cancelled due to lack of competitors – that in Cambridge.

In this series of blogs, we will be previewing each individual Regional Round, commenting on each group and their chances of qualifying for the final, as well as introducing several groups that you might not yet have heard of.

In our third special preview blog, we look at the London Regional Round, which was formed last year and will be taking place on Saturday 11 February.

Potted History

The London Regional Round began in 2011, and as such only has a year worth of history to report. Last year, five groups competed – two from King’s College, namely All The King’s Men and The King’s Chix; two from Imperial College, The Techtonics and Harmaphrodite, and Royal Holloway’s Absolute Harmony. Last year, All The King’s Men won through to the final, with The Techtonics winning the award for ‘Outstanding Performance’.

Notable Absences

Absolute Harmony: After one year in the competition, Absolute Harmony have decided not to compete this year. The group, who are very actively involved in the community, having won awards from the University in the past, will be a big loss to the competition, but we wish them well for the future and hope to see them again.

The Fitz Sirens: After three years of participation, the loss of The Fitz Sirens could be the reason for the lack of Cambridge Regional this year. The girls will be sorely missed, especially after their successful run to the 2010 and claiming the award in the final for ‘Outstanding Musicality’. We’ll hopefully see them again.

Harmaphrodite: After debuting last year, Harmaphrodite will also not be competing this time round. We don’t know much about the group as a whole, but do hope to see them in the future.

Cadenza: Probably the biggest shock of the tournament so far is the absence of the reigning champions, Cadenza. Why they have decided not to enter is unknown, but they will be sorely missed, particularly after their experiences in the US at the ICCA finals last year, and having never failed to reach the Final before. We wish them all the best for the coming year and hope that last year wasn’t the last for the mixed group from Cambridge.

Newcomer Alert

Imperielles: After making their debut at The Techtonics Christmas Concert, the new all-girl group from Imperial College, London have decided to make the immediate step up to competition level and will be competing for the first time this year. We look forward to seeing this up-and-coming group at the London Regional and hope they will enjoy the experience! The girls can be found on Facebook.

Switching Sides

Fitz Barbershop: Due to the demise of the Cambridge Round, one group has had to relocate to the slightly further away London Regional. The only group that will be making the switch is former finalists Fitz Barbershop, who remain the only group to have ever won the Ward Swingle Award for Originality, and thus a wild card to the final in 2010. They have won several other awards, both in Regional Rounds and the 2010 final, and so must be seen as a threat in this round.

Old-Timers

The King’s Chix: Last year’s debutants The King’s Chix will be trying their hand for the second time, and could be in with a chance. They weren’t perfect at the Techtonics’ A Cappella Event in November, but they had several new members and will have gelled more fully by the time the Festival rolls around. Whether or not they will be good enough to reach the final remains to be seen, but with Cadenza out of the running, they have a very good chance.

The Techtonics: The Techtonics have possibly been one of the busiest groups in recent months: despite not doing the Edinburgh Fringe, they went to Croatia and organised several joint events with other groups, really emphasising not only the a cappella spirit within the group, but their enthusiasm for performing. This could stand them in good stead, and recent reviews of their performances have been very good. I think they might do very well.

All The King’s Men: Another all-male group, All The King’s Men achieved the impressive feat of reaching the VF-UK final last year in their debut year in the competition. They have since released their first album, been to the Fringe and embarked upon a very successful US Tour, gaining lots of experience along the way. They will surely have learnt from the experience, but they have had a significant changeover in personnel this term and this could hinder them, depending on how well they have blended since the start of term. Will be a threat.

Summary

Another pretty tough one to call, here. Cadenza were the reigning champions and had never failed to make a final, so their absence throws this round wide open for the rest. ATKM and Fitz Barbershop have made the final before, and are strong contenders, while The Techtonics’ competitive experience in Croatia will surely be of benefit to them. The King’s Chix could also do well, while brand new groups like Imperielles generally find it tough against more experienced opposition. Whatever happens, it’ll definitely be a round to keep your eye on.

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